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Playoff Box Score: Blackhawks Earn Respect in OT Loss

By Chuck Sudo in News on Apr 27, 2011 1:00PM

It was a fun run while it lasted, but an Alexandre Burrows slap shot 5:22 into overtime gave the Vancouver Canucks a 2-1 overtime win over the Blackhawks in Game 7 of their first round Stanley Cup playoff series. It seemed fitting that this game should go to overtime and, in thee end, the better team won. But don't cry for the Blackhawks for long, people. They showed a lot of heart and determination in fighting back from a 3-0 deficit. In the process, the Blackhawks made some new stars and showed that there is some talent on the bench past the front line players.

Hockey experts were wondering when Jonathan Toews would make an impact on series. The Hawks captain, who was a minus-4 in the series heading into last night's game, forced overtime by scoring his only goal of the series on a wrist shot with 1:56 left in regulation. The Blackhawks missed a golden opportunity early in the overtime by failing to capitalize on a power play with Burrows in the penalty box. Burrows came back on the ice and managed to fire the decisive slap shot past Corey Crawford..

The Blackhawks will say that anything short of another Stanley Cup is a failure. But they have reason to be positive for the future of the franchise. Crawford was the best player on the ice throughout the series and looks like the team's top goalie heading into next season. Other players emerged like Ben Smith, Bryan Bickell, Michael Frolik, Chris Campoli and Jake Dowell.

One wonders how the series would have turned out if the rest of the team besides Crawford came to play sooner than the brink of elimination. But they gave fans a memorable playoff series and exposed Vancouver for future opponents in the playoffs, starting with the Nashville Predators, who by now must have reams of scouting reports on the Canucks.